This is the full text of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's address to Parliament on the carbon tax.

Mr Speaker, I thank you for the call and I welcome the opportunity to speak on this legislation. Mr Speaker, let's be absolutely blunt about the bills now before the parliament: this is a bad tax based on a lie and it should be rejected by this parliament.

The Prime Minister said yesterday that the question for members of this parliament was are you or are you not on the right side of history? Well, let me say, Mr Speaker, this is arrogant presumption by a Prime Minister who is on the wrong side of truth. That's the Prime Minister's problem. She is on the wrong side of truth when it comes to this issue.

Let's consider, Mr Speaker, the record of this Prime Minister on this subject. This is a Prime Minister - and we know this happened because her predecessor has described this in public - this is a Prime Minister who sabotaged her predecessor at least in part because of her predecessor's desire to bring in an emissions trading scheme. She brought down her predecessor on this issue and I say to the Australian people if Kevin Rudd could not trust this Prime Minister why should the people of Australia trust this Prime Minister on the subject?

Mr Speaker, not only do we have a Prime Minister who brought down her predecessor, in part, on this subject, we also have a Prime Minister who revealed her true position on this subject in a memo - a secret memo - to the inner cabinet where she said that direct action would in fact work, it was capable of bringing our emissions down by five per cent and it was capable of doing that without a carbon price. That is the one spark of truth that we have seen from this Prime Minister on this topic. But having sabotaged her predecessor over an emissions trading scheme, having told the inner cabinet that direct action would work, then she said to the Australian people at the election campaign that what we really needed was a 'peoples' assembly' to deal with this whole question of climate change. This citizens' assembly wasn't going to meet, listen to a few experts and then quickly decide what the policy was. This citizens' assembly was going to sit, it was going to deliberate, it was going to keep deliberating and it would not come to a conclusion that would be acted upon by government until there was, and I quote, "a deep and lasting consensus."

So, so far, Mr Speaker, we've had three positions from the Prime Minister. First, sabotaging her predecessor over an emissions trading scheme; second, telling the inner cabinet that direct action would work; third, a citizens' assembly that would not conclude until a "deep and lasting consensus" was achieved. I mean, talk about real Julia and false Julia. The fact is, when it comes to this subject there seems to be no real Julia at all, because having had all of those different positions we come finally to her statement, her pre-election statement - I would say her fatal pre-election statement - that "there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead." Now, Mr Speaker, this is the statement that haunts this debate. This is the statement that haunts this Government. This is the statement that makes the whole debate that we are having fundamentally illegitimate because this is the very tax that this parliament should not be considering.

Let me say this, Mr Speaker. It is one thing to change your mind as circumstances change. It is an entirely different thing to pervert the democratic process of this country by saying one thing before an election to win votes and to do the exact opposite after the election to hold on to your job and that is precisely what this Prime Minister has done. What she hasn't done is the decent, honest thing which would have been to take a change of position, had that genuinely taken place, to take a change of position to the people at an election.

This is a Prime Minister who has, from time to time, compared this carbon tax to the great reforms of previous governments. She's even compared it to the great tax reform of the former government and the former Prime Minister, Mr Howard, but the fundamental difference between the Prime Minister sitting opposite today and the Prime Minister who took the tax reform package through this parliament is that he took it to an election first. He took it to an election first and if the arguments for the carbon tax are as strong as this Prime Minister says they are, why hide from the people? Why hide from the people? Why not expose these arguments to the people because I say to this Prime Minister if she really does want a deep and lasting consensus to be attained in this country there's one way to do it and only one way to do it: take it to the people and win an election on it.

I say to this Prime Minister there should be no new tax collection without an election. That's what this Prime Minister should do. If this Prime Minister trusts in the democratic process, if this Prime Minister trusts her own judgement, trusts her own argument, that is what she should be doing. She should be taking this to the people.

Mr Speaker, the whole point of this tax is to change the way every single Australian lives and works. That's another reason why this should be taken to the people. This is not just a minor bit of financial engineering. This is not just - if you believe the Government - something to do with the revenue. This is a transformational change. This is something which is supposed to impact on our country, not just today, not just next year, not just next decade but forever. That's how important this is, if the Government is to be believed, and this is why it should go to the people first.

This tax is all about making the essentials of modern life more expensive. Modern life, Mr Speaker, is utterly inconceivable without fuel and power, without fuel to move us around the country, without power to make our homes, our businesses and our factories work. So, if this tax comes in, as the Government wants it to come in, we won't be able to turn on our air conditioner or our heater without being impacted by this tax. We won't be able to get on a bus or a train, ultimately to drive our cars, without being impacted by this tax. That's how important, that's how significant this tax is. This explains the obvious impact that this tax will have on every single Australian's cost of living. This explains the obvious impact that this tax will have on every single Australian's job and this explains why it is so necessary for this tax to go to the people before the parliament tries to deal with it. Mr Speaker, if this parliament is to have any democratic credibility on an issue like this there must be an appeal to the people before a decision by the parliament.

Mr Speaker, the longer this debate lasts the clearer it is that this tax is all economic pain for no environmental gain. On the Government's own figures, under this tax there will be an immediate 10 per cent increase in electricity prices, a nine per cent increase in gas bills and there will be a $4.3 billion hole in the Budget. Now, that nine per cent increase in gas prices and that 10 per cent increase in electricity prices is what we get - well, we aren't quite sure whether it's what we get with a $23 a tonne carbon price or a $20 a tonne carbon price because they still haven't given us the modelling, Mr Speaker, on this - but once the price goes up to $29 a tonne, to $131 a tonne, as it's forecast to do on the Government's own figures, these prices for gas and electricity just go up and up and up and that's the last thing, Mr Speaker, that the people of Australia need given that they have suffered from price rise after price rise in the three-and-a-half years since this government came to office.

Let's look at what the Australian Bureau of Statistics tells us. Let's look at the story of prices rises, Mr Speaker, under this Government. There's been a 51 per cent average increase in power prices. There's been a 30 per cent average increase in gas prices. There's been a 46 per cent average increase in water prices. There's been a 24 per cent average increase in education costs and there's been a 20 per cent average increase in health costs. Mr Speaker, all of these prices are going to go up and up and up under a carbon tax.

Now, as members opposite are only too well aware, I've been spending quite a bit of my time since the carbon tax was first announced at the press conference in the Prime Ministerial courtyard hijacked by Senator Brown and since Carbon Sunday, I've been spending quite a bit of my time going around to the workplaces of Australia talking to the workers of this country - the workers of this country who I regret to say have increasingly been abandoned by members opposite - and just to give you a snapshot, Mr Speaker, of some of the increases that will be faced by the employers of those workers that the Labor Party once represented: Austral Bricks - $2 million a year additional cost; the Victorian hospital system - $13.5 million a year additional cost; Nolan's Transport in Gatton - an additional $300,000 a year additional cost and it just goes on and on and on.

Mr Speaker, this is at a time when Australian business - particularly Australian manufacturing business - is under great pressure. This is a time when the world financial situation is experiencing unprecedented fragility and what does this Government do? What does this Government do? It doesn't think now is not the time to add to the burdens on business. Now is not the time to add to the burdens on families. Now is not the time to add to sovereign risk issues associated with Australia. They don't think any of that, no. They think what we need now is just another big new tax. On top of the mining tax and all the other taxes that they want to put on us, they want a carbon tax as well.

We heard from the Prime Minister yesterday that the carbon tax is somehow going to create jobs. Well, Mr Speaker, this is a government which sometimes talks about economic credibility. Show me a credible economist, Prime Minister, who thinks that higher prices create more jobs. Show me a credible economist who thinks that higher taxes create jobs. Mr Speaker, this isn't just nonsense, this is nonsense on stilts by a government which has no real understanding of the economy of the real world in which most of us live.

Mr Speaker, this Government constantly tells us that the modelling shows most people will be better off. Well, Mr Speaker, there's modelling and there's modelling. This is a Government which says that the modelling of the Commonwealth Treasury, and it's still as I say, hasn't given us the correct modelling but nevertheless it claims the Commonwealth modelling shows people would be better off. Well, that's not the only modelling, Mr Speaker. It's not the only modelling. The Victorian Government has commissioned Deloitte Access Economics. Their modelling showed that there would be 23,000 fewer jobs across Victoria by 2015 as the result of the carbon tax and members opposite should listen to this, with the Latrobe Valley, Geelong, Port Phillip, Monash, Boroondara and Whitehorse the worst hit areas. The Victorian Government's modelling says that the Victorian economy will be $2.8 billion worse off in 2015 thanks to the Government's carbon tax.

The New South Wales Treasury modelling - and this was modelling originally undertaken for the New South Wales Labor Government when Michael Costa was the Treasurer of New South Wales - this modelling predicts that 31,000 jobs will be lost in New South Wales by 2030 as a result of the carbon tax, with 18,500 in the Hunter Valley alone and I say to members opposite representing Hunter Valley electorates: stand up for jobs in your area, stand up for the jobs of your constituents. Stop making excuses for a floundering Prime Minister and stop putting the political interests of this Prime Minister ahead of the economic interests of your constituents. The New South Wales Government predicts that state finances will be $1 billion worse off between now and 2014 and, listen to this, Mr Speaker, with a reduction in gross state product of close to one per cent a year by 2020 and electricity prices in New South Wales will rise by $498 next financial year as electricity generators pass on the cost of their carbon permits.

Mr Speaker, the Western Australian Treasury modelling predicts that Western Australian households within three years will be paying more than $2,120 a year for power compared with $1,515 a year now.

But Mr Speaker, members opposite will say they're just the Coalition states. What can you expect from modelling commissioned by Coalition governments? Well, let's go to the Queensland modelling. The Bligh Government commissioned a report from Deloitte Access Economics and that modelled Queensland's gross state product would be 2.76 per cent lower by 2020 and 4.11 per cent lower in 2050 with the carbon tax than it would be without one. This is a five per cent reduction in Queensland's gross state product under the carbon tax. Deloitte's predicted a loss of 21,000 jobs in Queensland and then there's the Queensland Treasury which anticipates a net loss in economic value of the state's generation companies of $640 million, all of which will ultimately be passed on to consumers.

Mr Speaker, nearly all of the claims that this Prime Minister is making for her carbon tax are wrong. It's a bad tax based on a lie and the argument that she is marshalling for this tax is one lie after another. She talks about "green jobs". Well, Mr Speaker, a United Kingdom study released in March this year found that for every job created in the renewable energy sector, 3.7 existing jobs were lost. A 2009 Spanish study found that for every green job created by subsidises and price supports for renewable power, more than two jobs in other industries are lost. Her claims that no one need worry about this tax because everyone is going to be compensated are wrong, even based on her own figures. Her own figures in her own Carbon Sunday documents show that more than three million Australian households will be worse off and these aren't just rich people. A teacher married to a shop assistant - worse off under the Government's package, even by the Government's own figures. A policeman married to a part-time nurse - worse off under the Government's own figures, thanks to the carbon tax. A single income family with a child - on the Government's own modelling starts to be worse off from below average weekly earnings.

This is what this Government is doing to the struggling families, the forgotten families, of Australia. The Prime Minister tells us that we have to introduce a carbon tax to keep up with policies in the rest of the world. Well, dead wrong. Since Copenhagen, Mr Speaker, if anything, the rest of the world has been moving against carbon taxes and emissions trading schemes and in the period in which Australia intends to reduce its emissions by five per cent, China is forecast to increase its emissions by 500 per cent and India by 350 per cent.

Mr Speaker, let me now come to the heart of my objections to this Government's tax proposal.

Mr Speaker, it won't even reduce emissions. It won't even reduce emissions. Now, Mr Speaker, every member of this parliament should go to page 18 of the Government's Carbon Sunday documents: Strong Growth, Low Pollution: Modelling a Carbon Price. I'm looking at the Government's own document. Our current emissions are 578 million tonnes. What we are supposed to be doing, if we are to reduce our emissions by five per cent on 2000 figures by 2020 is getting it down to 530 million tonnes. That's what we're supposed to be doing. But the Government's own figures don't say that we are reducing our emissions by five per cent. The Government's own figures say that we are in fact increasing our own domestic emissions from 578 million tonnes to 621 million tonnes. Now, what's the point? What is the point of all the pain of this carbon tax if our emissions are actually going to increase?

But it just gets worse. At a $29 a tonne carbon tax our emissions go up from 578 now to 621 in 2020. It gets worse. At a $131 a tonne carbon tax in 2050 we don't get an 80 per cent reduction in emissions, we actually get a six per cent reduction in emissions. Our emissions in 2050 on the Government's own figures have gone from 578 million tonnes now to 545 million tonnes then.

So, all of those bold claims in the Prime Minister's speech yesterday, all of that big chest-thumping talk of a massive reduction in emissions as a result of this tax, utterly wrong, utterly wrong and disproven on the basis of the Government's own documents. We aren't reducing our emissions, we are just engaging in a massive transfer of wealth from this country to carbon traders overseas. That's what's happening. That's what's happening under this tax. It will be $3.5 billion in 2020 to purchase almost 100 million tonnes of carbon credits from abroad, it will be $57 billion - one and a half per cent of gross domestic product - shovelled off abroad by 2050 to purchase some 400 million tonnes of carbon credits from abroad.

Mr Speaker, the Prime Minister claims that we're all going to get richer and richer under this carbon tax. Well, again, I say to members opposite if you don't believe me look at your own modelling document which says that Australia's gross national income per person will be almost $5,000 less in 2050 with the carbon tax than would be the case without it. So, Mr Speaker, what is the point? What is the point of this carbon tax? Well, we know part of the point. Part of the point is to satisfy the Greens, without whom this Prime Minister would not be in The Lodge, without whom this Prime Minister would not have been able to cobble together a majority after the election. But that's not the only point. Deep in the DNA of every Labor member opposite, I regret to say, is an instinct for higher taxes and greater regulation and isn't that just what we are getting under this carbon tax proposal: more taxes, more bureaucrats, more regulation, more burdens on the life of the Australian people, more economic pain for no environmental gain whatsoever.

Well, Mr Speaker, as I've been saying right around the country ever since this was proposed there is a better way. There is a much better way to reduce emissions and the better way to reduce emissions is to work with the grain of the Australian people. The better way to reduce emissions is to further encourage the intelligent, sensible things that Australians and Australian enterprises are doing now to reduce emissions. Australian farmers are planting more trees and they're doing it now without a carbon tax because they know it's good for our environment, it's good for their agricultural productivity. Australian farmers right now are moving from chemical to organic fertilisers. They are reducing emissions and they're doing it not because of a carbon tax, they're doing it because it makes economic and environmental sense.

Australian businesses are taking sensible measures to reduce their fuel bills and reduce their power bills. Linfox has better trained its drivers and as a result of better driver training their total emissions have reduced by 35 per cent since 2007. Visy are moving from high emitting power from the Latrobe Valley to power that they are producing by burning the garbage that can't be recycled. This isn't just zero emissions energy, this is negative emissions energy because that garbage would otherwise be emitting not just carbon dioxide but methane in landfills. They're doing all of this without a carbon tax. They're doing all of this without a carbon tax and none of this would be easier, in fact, all of it would be harder with the carbon tax that this Government is proposing.

Mr Deputy Speaker, listening to the Prime Minister you'd think Australians have been complete environmental vandals until this Government came along with its carbon tax. Well, I can tell the Prime Minister that because of the environmental decency and because of the economic common sense of Australians and Australian businesses our emissions intensity is 50 per cent down; it's 50 per cent down over the last decade-and-a-half and all of that happened without a carbon tax. All of that is going to be put at risk by the carbon tax which this Prime Minister now wants to put in place.

True environmental progress will be harder with a carbon tax. True environmental progress will be encouraged and facilitated by the direct action policies of the Coalition and let me say when it comes to our direct action policies: they are costed, they are capped and they are fully funded from savings in the budget.

So Mr Speaker, this carbon tax proposal from the Government would be disastrous for our democracy. How can Australians continue to trust our democracy when the biggest and most complex policy change in recent history is being rammed through this parliament by the most incompetent government in recent history? The biggest and the most complex change, sponsored by the least competent government in recent times, not only does it not have a mandate to do what it is proposing it has a mandate not to do what it is proposing. That's why this package of bills is so disastrous for our democracy.

Mr Speaker, it's disastrous for our democracy, it's disastrous for the trust that should exist between members of parliament and their electorates.

Why are the Members for Throsby and Cunningham sponsoring such damage to BlueScope and to the coal miners of the Illawarra?

Why is the Member for Hunter and the other Hunter Valley members of the Government doing such damage to the heavy industries and to the coal mines of the Hunter?

How can the Climate Change Minister talk to his constituents with a straight face given what he is doing to them?

How can the Member for Capricornia want to close down so many mines in her electorate?

How can the Members for Corio and Corangamite be doing this to the cement industry and to the aluminium industry and to the motor industry of Geelong?

What we have from this Government is politically and economically and environmentally disastrous.

But it's more than that.

It is going to turn out to be the longest political suicide note in Australian history.